Just thought I'd post with a few tidbits of my life from the past 2 weeks. I'm in my second week of the Paralegal program and it's kicking my butt. Not the information or the work, but the schedule. It's been difficult to adjust to going to work from 8:30-5:30 then to class from 6-9 3 days a week. It's silly, but I mostly get stressed over when and what I'll eat for dinner, will I be starving come end of class, etc, etc. I'm sure I'll get into a groove at some point. It'd just be nice to go ahead and get there. I turned in my first homework assignment last night and we went over it in class so we could all know how we did. I did great - only making 2 super-minor errors. Claps for me.

I finished up my 2nd wedding order this week. Emily Leonard, who is the sister of one of my college suitemates, is getting married on Saturday and I (well, Seth) delivered her 300 programs on Tuesday night. He's so helpful. I hope she loves them.

We've discovered 3 scabby bumps on Three in a variety of places. She has continued to seem itchy and one her favorite things to do is rub the side of her face into the carpet and walk forward. Guess that's how the puppy itches her face. We are taking her to the vet (once again) for a allergy-type follow-up to see what they might suggest we try next. Poor thing - we've been giving her half a Benedryl off and on and I guess that seems to help. She went to Doggie Daycare today (her fave!) since Seth and I won't really be home tonight. She'll pass out when she gets home and will probably sleep until one of us returns. She's also getting groomed on Wednesday! YAY!

This Saturday night Seth is throwing Patrick's bachelor party in the great metropolis of Moncure. I hope those boys behave. I think it's in order considering Patrick's dad and preacher are going to be there. I will be lonely but will have things to keep me occupied. I need to finish up Courtney and Patrick's wedding program layout so I can get them printed and put together. It's crazy that their wedding is in 2 weeks!

BEST OF ALL, Elliott Yamin has added some dates to his fall tour schedule one of them being Asheville, November 3rd which is a Saturday. He's playing at The Orange Peel and I'm determined to go. Asheville will be nice in November, plus, it's on a Saturday and that works with our schedule. I MUST see Mr. Yamin - he's my fave! I'm quite excited to say the LEAST.

That's all I can think of that's half interesting or fun in my life!


Bob Woodruff is my hero

Last week while we were at Topsail Beach, I was able to finish one book I've been reading this summer called, "In an Instant: A Family's Journey of Love and Healing" by Bob and Lee Woodruff. I started reading the book slowly back in Apex, but since I don't usually have tons of time to devote to reading, I wasn't able to really get far until we were at the beach with nothing to do (thankfully). I was so touched by this book and was able to connect with Bob and Lee in a scary too-close-to-home type of way. Here are my thoughts on why I can't stop thinking about this couple.

As many of you (all 3 of you reading this blog) know, my dad suffered an irreversible anoxic brain injury in 2002 following open-heart surgery at the infamous life-shattering-never-take-your-family-members-there Duke University Medical Center. In my dad's case, the damage was to all parts of his brain and he lost a lot of his motor functions, speech, executive functions, you name it...he's not really got it anymore. He requires someone to be with him 24-7 which has put a huge and permanent strain on our family, but mostly my poor mom. Not really knowing what exactly had happened to Bob Woodruff, but curious nonetheless, I randomly decided to buy their book a few months ago. I had no idea how similar their story would be to that of my family's.

Bob suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after an IED exploded near the tank he was riding in and happened to be standing up in at the time of the explosion. He was critically injured and eventually had part of his skull removed to allow the brain to swell. This removal saved his life. Of course, the majority of the story about his ordeal was told from Lee's perspective and so much of her struggles, thoughts, emotions, etc. reminded me of my mom to a T. It was crazy. Even descriptions of Bob's behavior (pulling at a feeding tube, trache tube, lashing out a doctors and nurses, having a far away look in his eyes, being in a coma, and the list goes on) were identical to what we watched my dad go through. The only comfort this list of things brings is the knowledge that the people do not remember a bit of it! What a blessing!

I cried many times while reading this book and each time I'd close it for a break I'd say, "I want my mom to read this book." Even though at a point, Bob's recovery and responses are far and away from what my dad has experienced, it was still oddly comforting to read their story and remember what happened to my dad and be able to connect through such an awful ordeal. I have this insane drive to talk to the Woodruffs, meet them, have my mom talk to them, and just compare notes. I don't know why I feel so driven to do these things, but if I had to guess, it's because on some level I think I see Bob as my dad had he recovered. Bob talks, walks, sounds like his old self, but that's because he was hit on the left side of his head and not the right. The right would've shown more physical effects, whereas the left side will show in speech and language.

Bob's recovery is amazing and I've seen many videos of interviews, just after he woke up, and from the "To Iraq and Back" segment he was a part of. It's just nuts, but I feel like he's my dad in a way and it's like a way I can have my old dad back even if he looks and sounds different. I think I'm probably pretending in my heart somewhere that Bob is what my dad could've been had this all not happened.

God bless the Woodruffs! I highly recommend their book! Here's a link to The Bob Woodruff Family Fund for Traumatic Brain Injury. There are great video clips on this site as well.


A little vacay never hurt no one...

Seth and I just got back from a 4-day beach vacation. We headed to Topsail Beach right after work on Wednesday, (me) not even heading home before leaving. Sadly, we had to leave our precious Three with the McFarlands as she wasn't allowed in the house we stayed in. That was disappointing considering Topsail is a dog-friendly beach during the summer! Boo! We'll take her this fall to make up for it.

We stayed in a nice place that belonged to some college friends of my mom's. They have recently purchased a new beach house directly across the street so while they were in their new house, they let us stay in their old house since the buyers haven't closed yet. It was so nice to get away and I truly let my mind focus only on our vacation. I am surprised at how well it worked, too. Coming to work this morning felt like the first day of school after a long summer vacation.

Seth and I spent a good few hours on the beach just laying out and listening to tunes for the first couple of days. We ate late dinners and hung out on the dock with my parent's friends - their new house overlooks Banks Channel. The weather was great every night - perfect breezes and beautiful sunsets. We ate really late dinners each night (10pm! Not kidding!) but it was fun!

I finally got a chance to knock off some of the white on me and got a pretty good tan w/o getting burned. YAY! I finished "In An Instant" by Lee & Bob Woodruff. It was amazing how much the story of Bob in the hospital during recovery reminded me of when my dad was in the hospital and my mom held vigil at his side. I want her to read it. I cried a few times - it's too bad our story didn't end like his. I felt oddly close to the Woodruffs even though I don't know them a bit. Great book.

Seth and I spent Saturday cruising up and down Topsail Island which my mom says is 26 miles long. We (I) was on a quest to go in the typical junky beach shops to see if I could find anything cute or fun. I ended up getting a jingle bell Christmas collar for Three and some new brown Reef flops. Nice.

Once we got home last night, reality set in hard. I've got to finish 3 weddings (programs) between now and October, I start Paralegal classes on Wednesday, I'm still working full-time, looking for paralegal jobs, will have homework, visits to the law library, etc, etc, etc. It was just a bit overwhelming, but I guess if I just take it day by day everything will fall into place.

Vacation was nice - wish it could've been permanent!


Summer Reading

No, no, no...not like the icky "required" reading from high school and college. I'm talking the enjoyable, read what you wish type summer reading. Lately, I've been on an emotional roller coaster for some reason. I've been second-guessing most of the decisions I've made in life and I really can't figure out why. My brain knows there's no point in wondering "what if I had done this instead?" since I can't go back in time and do it differently to see if I'd be happier than I am now. The problem is that my perfectionist streak feels it's necessary to continue to wonder "what if." So, to try and combat this problem I've picked up 2 books I've owned for a bit and have decided to actually read them versus just looking at how pretty they look on the bookshelf. My mom says that when my mind isn't sufficiently occupied, it tends to wander away and obsessively analyze something that's not important in the grand scheme of things.

I'm actually going to try to read these 2 books at one time. The first one I started reading on Monday is "In An Instant" by Lee and Bob Woodruff. This book tells the story of when ABC's World News Tonight co-anchor, Bob Woodruff, was in Iraq and whose convoy was blasted by an IED. The book comes from both Bob and Lee's perspective. The other book I've had for over a year, Alice Sebold's "Lucky" which is her telling the story of her own brutal rape that occured on the last night of her freshman year in college. Both books start right in the center of the action. "Lucky" began with a graphic and scary retelling of the rape itself and "IAI" began with Lee finding out about the attack on Bob's convoy and Bob describing the first few moments after the attack (what he remembers).

It's interesting that the 2 books I chose to read are both non-fiction. I bought "Lucky" a year or so ago after I read Sebold's first book, "The Lovely Bones." I can't say that I realized I was buying a book that was a non-fiction story of an event in the author's life. While fiction is enjoyable, it's always interesting to read something and know that it really happened to someone somewhere. So far, I'd recommend either of these books to someone else. I'm excited to finish them to see what I can take away from each one. Hopefully, something encouraging or at least I hope to become aware of something I'd not considered before.